A new research study has found that over two thirds of companies are still opting to run Office 2007, which is software that Microsoft no longer supports.
Spiceworks, an IT network that focuses on industry professionals, has found within its latest research that the majority of businesses are running Office XP, Office 2003, and Office 2007, while Microsoft pushes Office 365--a batch of subscriptions allowing access to several software including newer versions of Microsoft Office, etc.
The research, which included 1,168 IT professionals based in America, Canada, and the UK who "influence the technology purchase decisions at their organization," found that companies will sacrifice security in exchange for reducing expenditure.
Peter Tsai, a senior technology analyst at Spiceworks, commented on the research: "Although they're aware of the security risks of running end-of-life software, many IT departments have not had the budget, time, or resources required to implement new productivity suites and train end users accordingly."
The hugely popular Office 2007 is being used by 68% of businesses quizzed by Spiceworks. Microsoft recently ceased (opens in new tab) official support for Office 2007. Meanwhile, 46% were running Office 2003, 21% opt to use Office 2000, and 15% still run the 2002 version of its, predecessor Office XP.
Microsoft isn't helping its case, though, in compelling users to upgrade. The software giant's reputation took a hit when it previously rolled out an update that would automatically upgrade Windows 7 and Windows 8 users without their consent.
Either way, according to Tsai, organizations should bear in mind that their budget-saving methods can expose them to much larger financial damage:
"Although they might not grab as many headlines as end-of-support OSes, Office suites that are past their prime are susceptible to danger, similar to their OS cousins. Just like any software or system in use, productivity suites need to be patched for security reasons. Once an OS no longer receives updates, it's a security liability. Over the years, there have been hundreds of vulnerabilities identified in Microsoft Office.”
Vulnerability in the aforementioned softwares can inflict significant financial blows to companies. For example, NotPetya, a ransomware malware, was behind mass service outages during May and June. Shipping firm Maersk declared that the malware may end up costing it $300 million.
The IT company noted that it's not a completely dire outlook for Microsoft. According to its survey, 17% of businesses are hoping to move to Microsoft's cloud-based Office 365 suite by 2019. The online productivity suite is a more compelling option for businesses thanks to its always up-to-date nature. Elsewhere, the research points out that 17% of businesses are currently using Google’s G Suite instead of Microsoft’s alternatives.
My office had this before I joined and we still use it lol.
Second point that would be interesting to investigate: how much of this is an unwillingness to retrain people, because MS tends to make so many changes for no great reason. Never ignore retraining costs. I know I always hated shifting from one version of Office to the next; finding anything was a brand new level of irritation.
Removing the ability to customize has been a common theme with Office--2003 was the last that had fully customizable menus and I am still most productive with it. I thought 2007's ribbons were terrible at the time but it probably wouldn't have been a problem if we had today's high resolution monitors back then. The strange thing is 2010-2013-2016 are all much like 2007 with more text labels in the ribbon, so there is next to no learning curve updating from 2007, and thus no pressing need for extensive retraining unless one of the 46% still on 2003.
So it's mostly cost--it does what they want and newer offers no compelling new features. Office is like those Madden games where the only thing they update are the rosters--with Office, the main thing that seems to change is the GUI theme to match the latest OS. And of course defaulting to cloud everything now is truly annoying. So businesses won't upgrade until costs from security issues start to outweigh the cost of upgrading.
As a company: Why upgrade if everything goes to ****.
Be patient, Microsoft, eventually our backs are against the wall.